Posted in Blog, Mental Health

It’s the Most Wonderfully Difficult Time of the Year

Christmas has been extremely difficult for me.

Filled with sadness, anger, violence, disappointment, and desperation.

This year I spent it with my girlfriend, just the two of us in our flat.

My fourth Xmas without my mother and sister. I tried really hard to get into the spirit of it all, wrapping presents, spending more than I could afford on food to cook a great (vegan) Xmas dinner, decorating the tree, obsessively buying more and more “little things” to make the flat more Xmas-sy. 

This year, I’ve also been volunteering with the recovery centre of a local mental health charity. I started a couple of months ago and it’s been an amazing experience. However, talking to the service users about their feelings towards Xmas is difficult.

A couple of weeks ago, a tweet by Sonaska a writer and designer fell into my timeline, retweeted by someone I follow:

You can also follow her on Instagram.

It was retweeted in relation to mental health at Xmas.

It’s tough being without family, watching everybody else excited to spend the holidays with family, eagerly buying loads of presents for everybody. It’s also tough when people send you messages hoping you have a great xmas with your family, unintentionally sending you back into that black hole of loneliness. 

Considering Xmas with my family was always so unbearable, if you think about it really, I’ve had a lucky escape. There’s no pressure for me to be anything other than myself, I’m spending it with somebody who genuinely cares about me and I don’t have to anticipate having a breakdown.

I also have to consider that I am blessed to have at least somebody to spend it with. Although the charity will be hosting a Xmas dinner at the day centre for the service users (and also arranging transport to the centre and back home), so that they won’t have to spend the day alone, it is still a reminder that there is no alternative for them (other than spending it alone), which is heartbreaking.

Therefore, although I spent most of Xmas eve sobbing into my pillow with multiple glasses of Bailey’s (yes I know you shouldn’t drink while on medication!), I worked to be thankful for what I do have: A home, a partner, friends, a career-plan and my sense of self. 


If you are still finding it difficult to cope, please reach out. The Samaritans are great listeners. With 1 in 3 people contacting them on Xmas Day alone you’ll be in good hands.

Posted in Blog

Besties

Before the end of brand beginning of 2018, I lost two close friends due to my new outspokenness.
The first was a friend from university, a white guy. I have to mention the colour of his skin because the reason we fell out was because of my wokeness. He labelled me a “social justice warrior” (which I’ve always been), but more so particularly because of my openness about racism. He wasn’t comfortable with it, decided we couldn’t be friends anymore and that was on December 31st.
I’d never come across the term “social justice warrior” before and actually found it hilarious that my fighting for social justice had only become a problem now that I had decided to direct my attentions towards the injustices of my people of colour. My girlfriend said that people who use the term “social justice warrior” are massive Nazis and white supremacists. I was shocked, because I’d known this guy for over ten years… and then it clicked. I’d never been Black to him, until now.
I never really talk about this friend, but believe me when I say it, this break-up broke my heart. Meeting at the age of eighteen at university we were pretty much kids and we were also both cancerians. We were both kindred spirits, we also lived together during the first two years of uni, both studied the same course, both came from incredibly fucked up families. Even when we fell out at the end of our second year, we got back in touch with each other after graduation and never stopped talking since.
Before I left London for uni, my sister and I were bullied by a group of black girls from church and I decided that I didn’t wanna fuck with black girls anymore and he heard all about it. (This wasn’t me generalising an entire group. I will do a separate post on this.) As my best friend at the time, I just thought that he was being a sympathetic ear, but wow how the slots are falling into place. His dad was also incredibly racist: the bull in me now would’ve gone raging for that red flag big time, but the naive girl at the time assumed that as he was friends with me, he clearly wasn’t racist.
Anyway, on 31st December 2017, he decided to terminate our friendship because I was woke.
After many tears I now of course know that I’m better off.

 

The second was the bestie from Bumble.
I’m still trying to figure this one out. I was talking about a Kanye West song, which turned into a debate about institutional racism over WhatsApp, which turned into a one-sided argument about me having been a bad friend and screenshot evidence that she had been collecting throughout our friendship taken out of context to prove that I was a bitch, always had been, leading to me being blocked on WhatsApp. I say one-sided, because I don’t get dragged into arguments anymore. I actually took a week off of university last month, because of stress-triggered seizures which then led to the flu. I told her to take time out but girls love to argue, so I’m sitting in a lecture about Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and my phone is blowing up with messages from her about how I don’t understand institutional racism (irony!), how I’m a bitch, how I’m this, how I’m that… You know that wow gif from The Wire… that was my wow moment when I realised I’d been sharing my darkest secrets all of this time with a psycho. She’d taken everything I’d said and used it against me out of context and I knew it was coming. Because I disagreed with her and stood my ground.

 

I like interchanging between books, so one of the books I’m currently reading is A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James and this quote reminds me of Bumble Bestie:

 

Nina Burgess – “I could try to shut her up, but like Ras Trent, Kimmy’s not really talking to you. She only needs a witness, not an audience.” (A Brief History, p.157).

I also recently learnt that South Asian people have a serious issue when it comes to colourism (Bumble Bestie is of South Asian descent).
At times it did feel like she wanted to talk down to me and I thought this was because of her Oxford education, but now I’m also beginning to wonder if it was also a colourism issue to. Did she even know she was doing it?
It infuriated her even more when “darkie” here argued back 😂

 

The girl was a c*nt. She did NOT like being told a different opinion. About anything. She could say that the sky was blue and you could say “with clouds” and she would screw up her face/ question why you were “questioning” her.

I stayed friends with her for too long. 

All because we connected during a time (Finchley), when I was incredibly lonely and broken. On the other hand, I just also felt like I’d finally found a friend who understood my mental health and sympathised with my physical condition. However, in all of that screenshotting drama, there was no regard that I might be having a seizure just because she wanted to prove a point.

However, in all of that screenshotting drama, there was no regard that I might be having a seizure just because she wanted to prove a point.

🤷🏾‍♀️

C*nt.

Both of these people are unfortunately emotionally unstable people, therefore I am trying not to let it cloud my judgement. Furthermore, I won’t let it deter me from voicing my opinions. I spent years keeping my intelligent voice silent afraid of conflicts like this.

Posted in Poetry

Grievance

Grieve for my former self

No tears every day

But grieve

Yes grieving

Every day

No more early mornings

Or “Ms Noel

Holocene walks

Teaching plans

But now so much time….

Tick… tock… tick… tick…

Miss running

To Kanye’s Workout Plan

Miss running

Feel it in my gut

Wish to run away

Grieving

For my consciousness

So vivid, so lucid

Sometimes it’s mine

Sometimes it’s where? 

Posted in Blog

My Wonderland: Finally Waking Up

I’ve always been an incredibly vivid dreamer.

Since I stopped talking to my sister, I’ve dreamt about her every single night. During the day (until recently) she is barely on my mind, however at night she is the most noticeable person in my consciousness. She doesn’t talk to me; If I try to, she’ll walk away from me. She doesn’t look at me either me. She just doesn’t acknowledge me.

I think we stopped talking in 2015.

Then last week, one night she looked at me. We were in a large house and I was trying to get out but I couldn’t find a way out, so I took the chance to ask her, expecting her not answer. She didn’t speak, but she did look at me.

Then the following night, I dreamt that I went out with her and her boyfriend and a friend of his, and although she wasn’t speaking directly to me, she was speaking to me within the group. We were looking at each other, laughing etc.

The following night I dreamt that she was heavily pregnant, and it was like no time had passed. I was holding her hand and touching her stomach. I could feel her baby kicking inside her stomach and we were excitedly talking about her due date which was rapidly approaching.

Each time I awake from these dreams, I wake up breathless and disoriented. However, this final one was the worse because I could feel it. The following day, I threw myself into my work to try to forget about, but then the evening came and I was too tired to escape it anymore. I lay in the bed in the dark, and sobbed for almost an hour. My heart was breaking and I very nearly picked up my phone, and called their house to see if she would pick up. However, I was frightened that my mother would pick up so I didn’t.

A couple of weeks ago, I told my partner that I would’ve died for my sister, and I repeated the statement again to a family friend over the weekend, when I told her about the dream. I also told her that I probably still would, however I’m now starting to reconsider that belief.

I hate referring to myself as a victim, but I am. And although I was abandoned my father, although it was my choice to cut ties with my mother, in my eyes I have no parents.

I still don’t really know why my sister hates me. My last conversation with her was her accusing me of faking my seizures for attention, and then telling me that she could no longer deal with my “shit” because I was too much of a burden, (but then the next day expecting me to pretend nothing had happened, without any apology). And one of my last conversations with my mother was her informing me that my sister had many grievances against me, which she was not privy to tell.

We grew up in the same household, had the same perspective of our mother, both wanted to escape, and yet something went terribly, terribly, wrong.

In 2016, after coming close to committing suicide and telling my mum that not being able to have a relationship with my sister was the reason, her response was:

“do you really think she would’ve cared if you’d killed yourself? She thinks you lied about your dad abusing you anyway.”

Of course she’ll deny that if you’ll ask her. Because that’s what they do.

Every time there’s a terrorist attack in London, I wonder to myself, don’t you guys ever wonder if I’m fucking okay? Are you really that fucking heartless? They know that I live in London. My partner actually said the other day that even if I did say that I didn’t want any contact, as a mother wouldn’t you fight? The last time I heard from my mother she wrote me a card telling me that she loves me, and God loves and forgives me. She didn’t apologise for saying that I was possessed by the devil though, and that watching horror movies had been the cause of of my epilepsy and therefore I had caused my own suffering. This is why I had asked her to stop sending me cards. 

If you’re going to continue to deny that there is something wrong with you and that you have abused me for thirty years and cannot apologise for that, then we cannot be friends, let alone mother and daughter.

I spoke one of my best friends over the weekend, who’s been with me through this entire journey and she said to me: if you go back to them, you’ll have yourself to blame when you get hurt again.

And she’s right. It hurts, but she’s right. I can’t go back. I can’t EVER go back.

I have to put myself first.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Labels #5: Kid A (My Depression)

Thom Yorke gif.gif (Image Source)

This was never part of the original concept when I decided that I wanted to blog a series on labels. I knew that mental illness was going to be part of the series, however I didn’t expect to be writing about Radiohead. Now, I cannot imagine how it couldn’t have ever been part of the original concept.

I’ve suffered a few breakdowns, however my most recent one has been the worst and music has always been key in saving me. In trying to write this piece, I’ve been also trying to recall the first time I actually ever heard of Radiohead, but in all honesty I can’t remember. I can recall hearing them from the distance of the TV or the radio as a child while in another room, but never really hearing them. This obviously came from my dad, who was the indie-rock influence in my life.

However, it wasn’t really until my early teens that I really heard them.

Radiohead.bends.albumart

(Image source)

By this point, I was incredibly lonely, incredibly aware of my alienation from my family as well as my school friends and I heard The Bends and suddenly heard people speaking my language. 

For almost twenty years, their lyrics, their melodies and their rhythms, make me feel safe, secure and understood. My mother thought that I’d discovered a cult because she couldn’t comprehend how I could blindly follow “this man” (Thom Yorke – she never seemed to see the rest of the band: Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway haha) without any question, but when it came to God, there was always such stubbornness in my heart, dispute and henceforth chaos brought into her home?

OK Computer

(Image source)

I was disgustingly late to the OK Computer party. When I went to University in 2004, even now I cringe with shame to admit it. I spent all of my student loans and grant on a sound system and all of the CDs I could get hold of – including all of Radiohead’s back catalogue of music.

I have a Radiohead song for EVERY significant moment in my life:

  • “High and Dry” – The Bends (the song the boy who had taken my virginity the week before serenaded me with – he did by the way, leave me high and dry, soooooo many times!)
  • “Fake Plastic Trees” – The Bends (the song we sang in the SU bar – somebody put it on the jukebox when we were tired of hearing pop crap, we thought that only our table would love it but the majority of the bar ended up singing along and getting pretty emosh!)
  • “All I Need” – In Rainbows (the song playing when I realised that I was in an extremely unhealthy relationship and I wanted to go home. This song probably saved my life at that time)
  • “Sail To The Moon” – Hail to the Thief (the song playing when I found out in the newspaper that the brother of one of my close friends from University had passed away)
  • “Daydreaming” – A Moon Shaped Pool (the song I played the very first weekend I left the house after I was suspended from work this year. It was the first time I had left the house in days, after feeling like I was about to reach a point of “no return” in my state of mental health. I also felt like a fool.) https://play.google.com/music/preview/T2d2sp4rw6mczxgid6xoxoai2yu?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-lyrics&u=0#
  • “I Promise” – OKNOTOK Computer (the moment I realised last weekend, that I needed to get better and that I not only needed to get better for myself, but also my partner).
  • “The Gloaming” – Hail to the Thief (actually used to be one of my least favourite songs on that album, until I saw the band live in Victoria Park, London in 2008 where they played this and it BLEW my mind. Now it’s a song I use to take me back to my happy place when I need to desperately retreat from the real world).
  • “How to Disappear Completely” – Kid A (again because of the live performance – this was the In Rainbows tour and I never expected them to perform this song which had become my mantra over the last year, due to how my mental state had deteriorated. I felt like everybody was watching me and judging me all of the time because I was such a failure and so I just wanted to disappear. Plus I couldn’t believe that after working SO hard to get to University, I was back living with my fucking mum again. Because of this performance, I now cry with happiness every time I hear this song.
  • “Pyramid Song” – Amnesiac (“there was nothing to fear, nothing to doubt”… this is how I feel EVERYTIME I listen to this song.

 

It’s funny because after watching Radiohead’s set, at Glastonbury over the weekend and crying all the way through it, I shared on Twitter that I couldn’t believe that they had warned me and yet I’d STILL missed the signs to how shit my life would be??? 

Simultaneously, I always feel like I’m surrounded by an army while I’m listening to Radiohead (You and Whose Army). This is going to sound absolutely insane, but they’re the only people who have never let me down, neither have they ever lied to me.

I officially identified myself as “Kid A” when I was forced to return home following that awful relationship breakdown I mentioned before. I didn’t really talk to anybody about what had happened to me – I just withdrew into myself and Kid A became my soundtrack. I can still remember floating along the streets of Kent, on the fast-track buses, absolving my sins into the music instead talking to my friends and family, who I didn’t feel like I could confide I  anyway because

(a) they wouldn’t understand and

(b) they would only judge me – which they later on  admitted that they did.

I also constantly felt like a “Subterranean Homesick Alien” (OK Computer), continuously waiting to be invited home.

Because this wasn’t it.

Radiohead_-_Hail_to_the_Thief_-_album_cover

(Image source)

The Bends and Hail to The Thief got me through the first year of University, when I was having seizures and spending loads of time in bed, and needed to be pumped up because I had no idea what was happening and these two albums became the drugs that I needed when I was lying in bed. On the days when I wasn’t crying over the boy who had stolen my virginity, I was crying about losing my mind because it was the reasonable explanation for what was happening to me: “Everything is broken

Nice Dream” was my lullaby:

“They love me like I was a brother, gave me sunshine, make me happy….”

It didn’t matter if I couldn’t be part of the crowd mentally (and I was really struggling mentally), Radiohead had me covered in the tortured serenity of my dungeon.

Over the years I’ve been able to come back to Radiohead. There hasn’t been a moment in my life I haven’t wanted them or needed them.

At times, they give me the guts and strength to feel morally superior. Look at the state of our politics – I love their very frequent references to animals, pigs in particular when it comes to politicians, and the year Theresa May came into power, they came out with the anthem “Burn the Witch”. They always know what needs to be said! Which is why I always want and need them in my life.

moon-shaped-pool-radiohead

(Image source)

“Pleasure and despair, as band allow themselves to be beautiful again….”

I’m going to see them in Manchester next week. This will be my second time seeing them and I am beyond excited.

I would love to say that they came back just for me: A Moon Shaped Pool came out shortly before my last relationship ended haha and this Manchester gig is exactly what I need after the shit I’ve been through this year.

⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗

Tuesday 5th September 2017

I’m currently listening to Moon Shaped Pool now…

I never posted this piece. So much has changed since writing it. I’m a completely different person now. For a start, I’ve realised that I’m a black woman and a white man cannot possible comprehend what I’m feeling. This is going to sound pathetic, but I feel like I’ve gone through a break up but I’m not the only person of colour to have gone through the same process. A couple of friends who have grown up in the UK listening to indie / alt rock felt this particular genre helped them profoundly in our adolescent years, however we became older and more aware of our colour and culture, and therefore more aware of a DISCONNECT. We all also struggled with mental health issues during our adolescent years, had nobody to turn to and so relied heavily upon musicians who we felt could understand our narratives eloquently. Then suddenly, in our late twenties / early-thirties, society gave us a rude “awakening”, and those narratives we relied heavily upon for so many years were no longer ours.

It’s heartbreaking: I didn’t ask to be born in an area where I was the only person of colour; I didn’t ask to grow up among white-British culture and henceforth grow up culturally confused (I shouldn’t have to defend being here either). 

I recall telling a close friend, who is South-East Asian and a Radiohead fan, that I’m angry at Radiohead: they’re incredibly political, but heavily so in white politics, or anything closely linked to British politics.

Do we mean so little to them? 

But then what can we expect from a bunch of white boys from Oxford?

So I have to decide, for somebody where music is so interwoven with her mental state and identity, am I just here for the music and then do I “keep it moving”? Or do I cut ties completely…..